Programming note: Get to know Tony Bergstrom with SportsNet Central's feature series "Meet the Rookies" at 10:30 PM on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
He was not the sexiest of of picks. Probably the most sensible, though.You don't get more blue collar than a grunt on the offensive line, and Tony Bergstrom fit that bill as the first draft pick of the Reggie McKenzie-Dennis Allen Era for the Raiders. Granted, it wasn't until the 95th overall pick of the draft as a supplemental pick to close out the third round. But the Raiders taking an O-lineman there spoke volumes.As well as the team's plans for the former Utah standout -- moving him from right tackle to left guard.That the Raiders are switching back to a zone-blocking scheme does not worry him much either, even if Bergstrom compared the first rookie minicamp to "mental gymnastics" and "drinking out of a firehouse," what with so much information flying the first-year players' way."At Utah that was always our first thing, establish the zone," said Bergstrom, the subject of Saturday's "Meet the Rookies" segment on CSN Bay Area's SportsNet Central. "A lot of teams do that. The big difference is the outside zone here. Theres a lot of that. I think a lot of this is pretty similar to what Ive ran in the past. Im used to it but at the same time there are a lot of new wrinkles thrown in."New offensive line coach Frank Pollack said versatility will only help the Raiders' top draft pick."In this league you have to be able to play more than one position," Pollack said. "Until youre a true, qualified starter in this league -- you only dress seven guys, so two guys back up five spots -- you've got to be able to move around."It was pretty unanimous. Our staff and our personnel department loved his tenacity. He was a physical player, he had good solid punch, a real mature kid so its been fun to see him going around here practicing."A veteran teammate also noticed a little something about Bergstrom's ethic."Good guy, keeps his mouth shut, comes to work every day," said right guard Mike Brisiel. "Hes going to succeed."Bergstrom's camp battle with veteran Cooper Carlisle, who is moving over from right guard for the first time in his tenure with the Raiders, figures to be one of the more intriguing in Napa. But Bergstrom needs to sign with the Raiders first.Along with fifth-rounder Juron Criner, Bergstom is one of two Raiders draft picks yet to sign. According to documents obtained by CSNCalifornia.com, Bergstrom has a first-year allotment of 516,504 with a minimum allotment of 512,504 and can expect, at the minimum, to have non-guaranteed base salaries of 390,000, 480,000, 570,000 and 660,000 on his four-year contract with a maximum signing bonus of 506,016.It was only the third time in franchise history the Raiders did not have a pick in the first two round of a draft, along with 1963 and 1989."Its a huge honor, especially my thought is, they sat there for pretty much three rounds," Bergstrom said. "They were on a clock but they had two full days to think about it, they had a lot of time to mull over their decision. So, that makes it a huge honor. It puts a little pressure on, but I feel extremely fortunate to be here and to be at a place like this, work this hard and play at this kind of tempo."Bergstrom served a two-year Mormon mission in South Sacramento and Stockton and turns 26 on Aug. 8. That does not make him soft, or satisfied, though. Especially not with a brother-in-law playing in Baltimore in Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger. Yes, they have the calendar circled for Nov. 11, when the Raiders play at Baltimore."What I want to accomplish, I want to get to a point where I can be a contributor," Bergstrom said. "I just want to do anything I can to help this team. Obviously weve all heard about the direction the Raiders are going. Theyre going in a good direction. I want to be a part of that. I want to be an asset to this team."As far as on the field, Im a big believer in finish. Im kind of the guy who wants to, as soon as the ref blows the whistle, thats my cue to hit someone else. Thats kind of my attitude, my thing."Sexy? Sounds pretty sensible, actually.e direction the Raiders are going. Theyre going in a good direction. I want to be a part of that. I want to be an asset to this team."As far as on the field, Im a big believer in finish. Im kind of the guy who wants to, as soon as the ref blows the whistle, thats my cue to hit someone else. Thats kind of my attitude, my thing."Sexy? Sounds pretty sensible, actually.